If you’re a designer, you’ve likely got several hundred fonts installed (or more) on your computer. This causes a problem in many applications on OSX (Entourage, Mail, Safari, Firefox and others). I noticed it when browsing the web, certain fonts would render weird. What I originally thought was a bug in my browser turned out to be a problem in some of the more recent versions of OSX after installing several new fonts.
What’s the cause? I wasn’t sure so but after a few searches I came across CreativeTec who explain what’s going on.
…when a document or a webpage call for a specific font and due to unavailability or inadequate font calls to the OS another font is chosen instead, an incorrect font substitution results. For the most part this isn’t the worst problem to have with a browser or your e-mail application. If a webpage calls for Arial and somehow Arial Narrow (another normal roman font) is used, you would still be able to read the text. Right? So what’s the big deal?
If you have Times-PhoneticAlternate or Times-PhoneticIPA present in either your font manager or in one of your various OS Fonts folders, then this font could get used instead of the normal Times font specified.
The result are fonts that look like this:
The problem, is actually pretty simple to fix in most cases. It’s caused by a misreading of installed fonts and in some cases corrupt font caches. The solution is to identify the offending fonts and delete them. In the case of a corrupt cache, the best fix is to clear your font cache files and restart the Mac. There are various programs that you can use to easily delete font caches but FontNuke gets a nod because it’s free.